A visit to Fort Lauderdale’s Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is always a treasure hunt – learning about the lives and passions of the historic Birch and Bartlett families through the eclectic, art-filled home and intriguing gardens. Now the museum is lifting the veil on the families’ inner sanctum with special tours of the upstairs living quarters, including the master bedroom, guest bedroom, Hugh Taylor Birch bedroom and bridal suite.
“Seeing someone’s bedroom always gives you a better sense of their personality,” says Stephen Draft, Bonnet House curator.
In the master bedroom visitors will see the ornate antique furniture that was a gift to the original lady of the house, Helen Birch Bartlett, upon her marriage to artist Frederic Bartlett in 1919. Her father, Hugh Taylor Birch, had given the newlyweds 50 acres along the Fort Lauderdale coast, where they soon built their Caribbean plantation-style home. Six years after Helen’s death in 1925, Frederic married Evelyn Fortune Lilly Bartlett. Together they transformed the estate into a showplace of art, horticulture, wildlife and color.
Bonnet House Private Living Quarters Tours began in November and continue the second Wednesday of each month from 2-3 p.m. ($20 per person). Groups are limited to 15, and pre-registration is required. The tours are not wheelchair accessible and require climbing one flight of stairs.
— Elizabeth Rahe
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, Fort Lauderdale, 954-703-2606, bonnethouse.org/hours-fees.